As mentioned in a previous blog post, the final frontier of philosophical and scientific inquiry pertains to gaining a deeper understanding of the human mind. Now that we can explain economic, political, and social phenomena from a cognitive behavioral standpoint rather than from a systemic viewpoint, it would perhaps be helpful for those in a dialectical state to touch upon some points about the human mind and the speculations that have been made in regards to its inner workings. What propels the search for truth other than the dialectical method is dialogue and what psychoanalysts call “free association,” which in turn leads to the ultimate truth. These mechanisms have been employed through the course of this blog’s development, and will continue as long as curiosity is the mainstay quality of our lives.
Aristotle was among the first to advance a theory of the human constitution known as “hylomorphism,” which suggests that human beings are of a dual nature. For one, humans are made up of a material constitution, which contains within it a spiritual dimension. Apparently, the soul has a life of its own, and it seeks evolution, growth, movement, and reform, while matter is in a state of inertia. Thus, there are usually two types of people. For one, there are those who seek economic and social evolution, personal and universal growth, movement towards the achievement of noble goals and ideals, and societal reform. On the other hand, there are those who seek corruption, inertia, stagnation, and the status quo.
Based on studies of the human brain, there are two systems in the brain, one of which operates on impulse towards selfish material gain, whereas the other system operates on reflective thought towards the collective good. As Karen Armstrong has written, it is believed that the hypothalamus located at the base of the brain is where our primal impulse to survive is derived from, whereas the neocortex gives us the human dimension of reflection and thought about the world and ourselves. Also, while Descartes contended that the human mind was located in the pineal gland of the brain, there is no evidence to suggest that the human mind is located anywhere decipherable.
Nevertheless, Daniel Kahneman and others have shown through their research that the use of the reflective system in our minds will prompt delayed responses to tricky situations but in turn these delayed responses as a result of reflection and thought will lead to better outcomes. Moreover, based on the research of the late J.B. Rhine, contemplation and thought can ultimately lead to the brain acquiring telepathic powers, considering that increased brain activity leads to an elevated consciousness and a closer connection to what is known as the “collective consciousness.”
As studies conducted by the American psychologist William James has shown, which were compiled in a book titled “The Varieties of Religious Experience,” those who relinquish the survival impulse and opt to align with a supernatural power and a “collective consciousness” often have better health outcomes than those who are in a constant state of survival. In an empirical sense, the truth about anything, including the human mind, depends on one’s “epistemological status,” scope of research, and ultimate source. Whereas some have purported through the epistemological tool of “mind-world monism” that the mind and reality are one and the same, others espouse a view known as “mind-world dualism” that suggests the mind is outside of reality and that reality should be observed independently and objectively through the mind. Whereas the brain’s key task is to keep the physical body functioning, the mind’s sole task is to seek the truth. Moreover, there is no task more important than seeking the truth.
But what is truth? One can argue that while philosophy and intellectualization are methods of knowledge, philosophy and intellectualization in and of themselves contain no absolute truths. Only through experience, which is subjective in nature, can one attain the truth, which in turn is the core argument of phenomenology and spirituality. As William James wrote:
“’Reality’ has become our warrant for calling a feeling cognitive; but what becomes our warrant for calling anything reality? The only reply is – the faith of the present critic or inquirer. At every moment of his life he finds himself subject to a belief in some realities, even though his realities of this year should prove to be his illusions of the next. Whenever he finds that the feeling he is studying contemplates what he himself regards as a reality, he must of course admit the feeling itself to be truly cognitive. We are ourselves the critics here; and we shall find our burden much lightened by being allowed to take reality in this relative and provisional way.”
As a result, one can equate reality to what some would call “transcendental subjectivity,” or “self-transcendence.” Reality, one can argue, is counterintuitive and counter-narrative in nature. Moreover, it has been argued by the likes of Hegel and contemporary thinkers like Eckhart Tolle that our thoughts come from what is known as “collective consciousness.” One can argue that the collective consciousness is the sum total of the thoughts generated by all of being, both seen and unseen. Tolle has stated that the collective consciousness acts through the individual. Some religious traditions purport that our thoughts either come from the Prophets and Saints of the past, or from Satan, all of whom are part of this collective consciousness.
But at the core of the human mind is a choice constituted by free will and the decision that can constitute a paradigm shift not only for ourselves, but for society as a whole. As Albert Einstein said: “The most important decision we make is whether we live in a friendly or hostile universe.” Thus, all that is needed is a decision and a paradigm shift that takes us away from a mindset based on finitude and scarcity to a mindset of abundance and infinite possibilities. The choice between abundance and scarcity is the substructure of the choice between compassion and cruelty which has no other substructure. This is our elementary choice. Abundance and infinity are the core realities of our universe, or perhaps multiverse. Michio Kaku has in fact argued that there are infinite universes.
When delving into particle physics to gain a better understanding of matter and perhaps what constitutes the human mind, we realize that everything is an empty space. What we perceive as solid matter actually consists of invisible particles that transform into waves. This is known as “wave-particle duality.” When measured, waves can emit photons, which are massless and represent the interaction between particles. Or, particles can constitute something that consists of constituent parts with no substructure, namely, quarks and leptons. The interaction between quarks and leptons are mediated by what is known as “bosons.” Quarks, leptons, and bosons cannot be reduced to a smaller form, and perhaps it is these particles that form what is thought to be the human mind.
However, when quarks and leptons form subatomic composite particles, these composite particles can interact. Their interactions are governed by four fundamental forces, namely, the electromagnetic field, the strong force, the weak force, and gravity. Some theoretical physicists, however, argue that in reality the four fundamental forces consist of one force. That force, arguably, is energy, considering that energy is what does the work of the fundamental forces. The Chinese had a name for this energy, namely, “Tao.”
On the other hand, all matter is energy, and as a result matter does not exist. Rather, it is energy that exists, which in turn acts upon the four fundamental forces that are keeping space and thus the universe together. Furthermore, the universe is infinite. Thus, it follows that energy is infinite because the makeup of the universe consists of energy, and if the universe is infinite, it means that energy is infinite. Moreover, energy can neither be created nor destroyed. As a further inference, it can be stated that since everything is energy and energy is infinite, it follows that everything is infinite.
As a result of Jungian “Synchronicity,” everything is connected. Since everything is abundant and infinite energy that is interconnected and interdependent, it is imperative that we do everything we can to prompt a choice and a decision to move away from a zero-sum paradigm based on finitude and scarcity and towards a social paradigm based on abundance and infinite possibilities in order to better facilitate economic and social progress for the world at-large. Anything is possible.